<b>End the conflict</b>

EDITOR: There are some terrible parallels between what's happening now in Gaza and what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Then, the Jewish population was penned into a small ghetto, deprived of basic necessities and targeted for extermination. Some Jews fought back though they had virtually no weapons. They also had nothing to lose. The German military, with overwhelming force, eventually destroyed the ghetto, bombing it into rubble.

I don't believe Israel is trying to exterminate the Palestinians, but I do think they want them to go away and allow Israelis to take possession of land that many Jews see as theirs, basing their claims on biblical times. Palestinians, having lived there for a very long time, do not agree.

The often tragic history of the Jews, including the Holocaust, leads me to compassion, but it's not justification for their becoming brutal in turn. Palestinians have been backed into a corner and are desperate. Jews, of all people, should understand.

All parties must meet and negotiate a viable peace. It's time to put the weapons down, and let this sad land weep.


Santa Rosa

<b>Extraordinary gifts</b>

EDITOR: In response to Mitt Romney's excuse for losing the election: He says President Barack Obama won by giving "extraordinary" gifts to supporters. What do you call it when you receive hundreds of millions of dollars from your rich donors? I call it "extraordinary" gifts.


Santa Rosa

<b>Record salmon run</b>

EDITOR: It was good to see in Friday's paper that there is a record run of salmon in the Russian River — "an indication of rich ocean conditions necessary for those fish to survive, fisheries biologists said" ("Record salmon run in river").

Entrenched assumptions about freshwater habitat being the limiting factor for salmon levels will take a long time to die. But the evidence that ocean conditions are the limiting factor has been there for a long time. We did all the "wrong things" for freshwater salmon habitat and created the "wrong conditions" for more than 100 years, yet we had large salmon populations. And when the salmon populations crashed in 1977, it happened across the board — for salmon spawning in heavily human-impacted environments as well as in parks.

Fish hatcheries are the most economical way to provide young salmon for the ocean. It is a good thing, and expensive, to make freshwater habitat for salmon better, though in the end we can end up with more freshwater habitat than there are salmon to utilize it. But it is a bad thing to continue to demonize and prosecute people for "destroying" fish habitat when the consequences of these supposed sins are so inconsequential.



<b>A spending problem</b>

EDITOR: Michael Drayton ("Tax consequences," Letters, Nov. 16) is correct in saying that "it's time to look at the actual consequences of Proposition 13." In 2005, the Center for Government Analysis did just that in a report titled "An Analysis of Government Revenues in California Since the Enactment of Proposition 13." The report says, "it is widely stated that state and local revenues have been cut as a result of Proposition 13; however, the data clearly indicate otherwise. Adjusted for inflation and population growth, state, county, city, school district and special district revenues are all higher now than they were before Proposition 13 was enacted by the citizens of California. Of particular note is the fact that school district revenues per student, adjusted for inflation, have increased substantially (30.73 percent) since FY 1977-78."

This loss in property tax revenue was more than offset by other non-property taxes and other revenues.

As Republicans often repeated during the last campaign, and were largely ignored, "we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem."


Santa Rosa

<b>A school option</b>

EDITOR: Regarding the underachievers in high schools, I think we would do our general population a tremendous favor by providing a choice of education after age 16.

We lived in Australia for a couple of years, where, when a student reached age 16, he or she either chooses to go to trade school or on with a college education. It's a win-win situation. No one is left out.